Kristen Bell may look like a California native but the bubbly, blonde-haired, blue-eyed actress actually hails from Michigan. She moved to the West Coast in her early twenties and now qualifies as an outspoken advocate for the Golden State. Bell first came to fame as high school student and detective Veronica Mars on the eponymous TV series, which filmed in San Diego County, and later on Heroes, which was shot in Los Angeles. But she stole the hearts of little girls all around the globe as Princess Anna of Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Bell, who co-starred with Ted Danson on NBC's The Good Place during that show's 2016–2020 run, explains why she and her husband, actor Dax Shepard, have chosen to raise their daughters in a sunshine-filled part of the world that also happens to be near some epic snow.
Where do you live? Los Angeles
Why there? I originally came to Los Angeles for work, but I stayed for the lifestyle. Every day, everywhere I look, I see acts of openness, and a plethora of diversity. The people here consistently reaffirm my belief in the human spirit. I’m very proud to call L.A. home.
Who or what is your greatest California love? The loyal sunshine. It never lets me down. It lifts my spirits, it makes my garden grow, and keeps me outdoors and active.
What is the biggest misperception about Californians? Many refer to Californians as living in a “bubble.” I disagree. A bubble insinuates insulation and a barrier to outside elements. Across the state of California, there is a vast range of political opinions, diversity, and ideologies.
What is the stereotype that most holds true? Traffic. It lives up to its notorious reputation.
What is your favorite Golden State splurge? Family trips to Mammoth Mountain. Playing in the snow is such a treat for us, since L.A. (almost) never sees any. More than the snow angels and the snowmobiling, the serenity and peace that permeate everything on Mammoth are unparalleled. There’s a very special warmth that you can only find in a cold environment, and Mammoth has no shortage of it. That feeling alone is worth the splurge.
Time for a road trip. Where (in California) are you going? Glamis [Algodones] Sand Dunes! We camp in an RV and go off-roading as often as possible. We find it very freeing to escape real life for a long weekend and get dirty in the sand.
If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant in Northern California. It is truly an incomparable dining experience. From the food to the presentation to the atmosphere, it is unforgettable. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, every detail is executed with precision and artistic integrity. It has received countless accolades and awards for excellence from the culinary industry, and when you eat there, you immediately know why. It is very special.
Best California song? “California Love” by Tupac, featuring Dr. Dre. Because truer words have never been spoken… California knows how to party.
How would your California dream day unfold? My perfect L.A. day would start by sleeping in (because on my dream day, my kids let me sleep past 6:30 a.m.) and waking up to the sunshine. Then, gathering the family, walking to Griffith Park and grabbing breakfast at the adorable and delicious café, Trails, that sits at the bottom of the mountain. After Trails, walking home, letting the kids play, while I dig around in my garden. After everyone feels adequately relaxed, we hop on our bikes and take a family bike ride along the L.A. River as the sun sets on us. After we get home, we have a family dance party while making dinner for the kids and singing them to sleep. Once the kids are tucked in, my husband and I get ready and head to dinner at our favorite spot, Eveleigh. The food is incredible and it’s a perfect date-night spot. It’s on Sunset Blvd, in the heart of L.A., and you can see the city twinkling all around you. After dinner, we come home, snuggle on the couch and throw on the latest episode of Dateline. And that’s that… perfection.